When you’re deployed in the middle of a war zone like Craig Grossi was in 2010, your spirit can take a real hit. Oh, you might say that Marines are trained to deal with volatile situations, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing. Ask any soldier and they’ll tell you how terrifying, and depressing things can get very fast. But just when Grossi felt like he had nothing to smile about, something unexpected happened. He crossed paths with an adorable pooch and Grossi was blown away, but not by enemy fire or a landmine. He was blown away by the cuteness of his new four-legged friend as he wagged his tail.In Afghanistan, soldiers often see stray dogs traveling in packs, but they aren’t exactly friendly towards humans. In fact, they can get downright mean and aggressive. But that wasn’t the case with this dog.
He was self-reliant, and he had to be because he was all alone. Soldiers would notice the dog scavenging for bits of food and then taking them to an area of bushes where he’d eat in peace and then rest.
The pooch was clearly fearless and Grossi wanted to give him some TLC, but his superiors had warned all soldiers to stay away from dogs, no matter how adorable or needy they might seem.
But when this little guy came along all confident, like he had it all figured out, Grossi’s heart melted. So, he decided to keep an eye on the stray dog and give him the positive human interaction he hadn’t received ever.
The Marine approached the dog carefully with the treat in his hand. The closer he got, the more he realized that the dog was full of bugs and dirt. But when the dog wagged his tail, it won Grossi over.
He got there at night, and by sunrise, he was welcomed with gunfire by Taliban fighters. From then on, it was a battle to just stay alive day in and day out. But the simple gesture the dog made with his tail put a smile on his face.
Grossi couldn’t understand how this dog was in such high spirits when he had no one in the world looking after him. The pooch even accepted Grossi’s affectionate touch when he scratched him playfully behind the ear.
When he looked down, he noticed that it was the dog who was following him. Then one of Grossi’s fellow soldiers shouted “Looks like you made a friend,” but he misunderstood “Looks like a Fred.” That’s when Grossi named the dog Fred.
At first, the Marines worried that Fred would bark and give their location away, but the dog learned not to make a sound when they were out patrolling. Eventually, every Marine fell in love with the adorable pooch.
His unit had been recalled to the main base where they would rest before being re-deployed somewhere else. This meant that Grossi had to figure out what to do with Fred. So, he sat down with him and asked the pooch to give him a sign.
In that moment, Grossi decided to sneak Fred in a duffel bag, even though he was risking jail time for disobeying orders. When he arrived at the base, he smuggled Fred into a pick-up truck. With the help of a Marine, he found a spare crate to put Fred in and ship him via DHL to his family in the States.
Three months later, Grossi was reunited with Fred. Since then, Grossi took a government job, then went to school, and in 2015, decided to travel from coast to coast with Fred for two months. Now a graduate of Georgetown University, Grossi loves sharing his cool story with the world.